People advised to take Covid tests before hitting the shops this Christmas

Christmas shoppers have been urged to take a Covid test before a trip to shopping centres or the high street this winter.

It is the first time the government has advised the public to take a rapid lateral flow test before going to high-risk settings.

The guidance is part of the government’s attempts to prevent a fourth wave without needing to introduce Plan B.

What does the Covid guidance say?

Previously, the advice has been to take two tests a week or carry out a lateral flow test before meeting vulnerable people.

However, the Cabinet Office guidance could now include taking tests before going shopping this Christmas particularly to busy stores and shopping centres, the i newspaper reports.

There is also a new warning about busy indoor places with limited fresh air - which carry a higher risk of coronavirus spreading.

The guidance states: “You may wish to take a rapid lateral flow test if it is expected that there will be a period of high risk that day. 

“This includes spending time in crowded and enclosed spaces, or before visiting people who are at higher risk of severe illness if they get Covid-19. ”

Will the government implement Plan B?

This measure comes as the government tries to avoid implementing Plan B - an alternative winter plan for dealing with a rise in Covid-19 cases.

Plan B will be implemented if the health service starts to struggle due to a rise in Covid cases.

Plan B would also see the return of measures seen in the UK’s various lockdowns, including making face coverings and vaccine passports mandatory in certain locations, and a return to working from home.

It comes as Covid cases surge in Europe with a number of countries introducing lockdowns.

A version of this article originally appeared on NationalWorld.com